Lo-Fi StayCay

Primm may not be Strip proper, but it’s a close, affordable getaway with some recently revamped amenities

The staycation—is it really worth it? Even for a hotel across town, you still have to pack. Sure, you save on gas money or airfare, but by the time you ante up for parking and resort fees, have you really saved much? And yeah, someone else makes your bed, but you’re still looking at the same skyline.

However, Primm is far enough for a full vibe change—nothing but desert and sky beyond the parking lots—but close enough that you can drive there in a single playlist or podcast and even stop to take in the Seven Magic Mountains on the way. You have your choice of three hotels: Primm Valley, Buffalo Bill’s and Whiskey Pete’s. The latter recently revamped their rooms for a sleeker, more modern look, but the joint’s real draw is also Primm’s most significant landmark: Bonnie and Clyde’s Death Car, the ’34 Ford in which the famed criminal lovebirds met their bloody demise. The sheer number of bullet holes in the car is shocking, and their death-trip romance is epitomized by the realization that every bullet that hit her had to go through him first.

Cierra Pedro | Vegas Seven

Bonnie and Clyde car display at Whiskey Pete’s

So, what to do on your Primm staycay? Shop, for one. Fashion Outlets Las Vegas in Primm has the usual round of shops, and outlet prices mean you can buy that Cole Haan bag or pair of Converse and have something left over for a few pairs of earrings at Claire’s Boutique. Or, if you need your beautification to go a little deeper, The Spa at Primm offers a full menu of services, from a Swedish massage to a seaweed body wrap. They’re as good as what you’d get on the Strip, but cost a bit less, and the facility isn’t crawling with tourists, so you can have that Jacuzzi and sauna (almost) all to yourself.

As far as dining, you’ll see familiar names, but it’s Denny’s and Carl’s Jr., not Wolfgang Puck and José Andrés. Still, the Mad Greek Cafe can hook you up with everything from a falafel to the pastrami-slathered Onassis sandwich. Leeli Pot in the Outlet Mall offers lighter Asian fare and, of course, there’s Original Pancake House for a Dutch Baby breakfast—hey, it’s still a vacation, so go ahead and do that full-tilt sugar-carb boogie!

Nightlife ain’t what it is on the Strip but you wanted a change of pace. There are gaming tables and cover bands, or you can drive about 20 minutes up to the Pioneer Saloon, the 100-year-old bar at the top of a hill in Goodsprings that still has bullet holes in the wall. Have a bourbon or a burger or both, listen to the jukebox and watch for the ghosts of miners and movie stars before heading back to your hotel. Tomorrow you can go back to the big town but, tonight, it’s low-profile and lo-fi in Primm.